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posted on 29 April 2017

Grading President Trump's First 100 Days: B!

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Starting with President FDR, most American Presidents have emphasized their first 100 days in office. President Trump is no exception (President Trump gives speech as today marks first 100 days in office).

As everybody is assessing President Trump’s accomplishments and mistakes (e.g. President Donald Trump Earns Mixed Grades for First 100 Days and The Worst Mistake of Trump’s First 100 Days), I would like to do my share as well …

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1. Overview

Like many Americans, I voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election for one main reason: he was the lesser of two evils. Additionally, I hope my numerous pro-Trump publications (e.g. Donald Trump is more Conservative than Ted Cruz! and Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton) made a difference in the 2016 elections.

Today, like most Trump supporters, I have no regret, so far, in voting for him.

Here is how I grade his first 100 days in office:

Specifically, below are the three big categories:

  1. Transition: B
  2. Domestic policy: A-
  3. Foreign policy: C.

Let me elaborate on each ...

2. Transition: B

This refers to the period from November 9, 2016, the day after Donald Trump was elected, to January 19, 2017, the day before he was sworn in as the American President.

Overall, President-elect Trump assembled a very competent team for his administration, with one big problem: too many military men!

Three highlights:

  1. Secretary of State: President-elect Trump clearly separated governing from his campaign by not offering the job to Rudy Giuliani, one of his chief campaign advisers. Instead, the job went to Rex Tillerson, who had little to do with his campaign but was deemed better qualified.
  2. Secretary of Defense: This traditionally civilian job went to General James Mattis, for which I expressed my deep concern early and fast (President Trump Must Be One-Term, Voluntarily!). More on this later ...
  3. National Security Adviser: Michael Flynn lasted for only 20 days, with more trouble to come (House oversight committee: Michael Flynn might have broken the law).

3. Domestic policy: A-

President Trump has clearly created a very pro-business environment at home, which is critical for America. In other words, without a strong economy at home, nothing else works or even matters.

Specifically, three good points:

  1. Tax reforms: It is a proposal for now, but the direction is correct.
  2. Curtailing regulations.
  3. Executive orders: President Trump is clearly a man of action by issuing many of them, although some are quite questionable.

Three bad points:

  1. Executive orders: Some of them are clearly questionable, from the “Muslim bans” to the “sanctuary cities”.
  2. Obamacare: President Trump has failed to “repeal and replace” it, thanks to the neo-cons, who have simply refused, after bitterly complaining about it for seven long years.
  3. Budget: Unlike Presidential candidate Trump who wanted to reign in the MIC (Military-Industrial Complex), President Trump has caved to it by increasing the already out-of-control military budget by yet another outrageous 10%!

4. Foreign policy: C

Presidential candidate Trump was correct not only in trying to reign in the MIC (Fixing the Military-Industrial Complex!), but also in stating that "NATO is obsolete". Unfortunately, President Trump has caved to the MIC not only in the budget mentioned above, but also in oversea ventures, from Syria, to Iran, to Russia, and to North Korea. As a result, he appears to be little different from President Obama in foreign policy: not knowing what to do or doing almost everything wrong!

I believe this is a result of a combination of his cluelessness in foreign policy and having too many military men in his cabinet. For example, on his first days, President Trump tasked the Pentagon to come up, within 30 days, with a strategy to defeat, if not to "eradicate", ISIS. What a dumb task to the wrong people and a dumb strategy out of the Pentagon! There is no military solution to the ISIS problem and everything out of the Pentagon over this matter is wrong, by definition, by practice, and by history!

A positive note: President Trump has handled the US-China relations reasonably well, so far. For more, read: The First Trump-Xi Meeting.

5. Discussion

A simple fact: On November 8, 2016, I voted for Donald Trump, without knowing what he really stood for, other than the belief that he was more likely to be better than his opponent in handling the economy, my biggest concern.

The simple fact remains unchanged today, although I do have high hopes for him. Two informative readings:

  1. Donald Trump 2.0
  2. President Trump in the Real World of Three New Kingdoms.

Unfortunately for America, President Trump does not seem to have listened to me. As a result, he is more likely to be drained by the swamp than to drain the swamp. One big example: he, like all his predecessors, seems to have already been trapped in "getting re-elected ad nauseam" (President Trump Must Be One-Term, Voluntarily!).

6. Closing

The bar for measuring the greatness of an American President is very low (Let's Redefine the American Presidency, Now (Version 3)!). I have, therefore, very generously given President Trump "B" for his overall performance so far (vs. "D" for President Obama - Correctly Assessing President Obama).

Hopefully he will do much better from now on. For example, he should have learned a big lesson from the failure of repealing and replacing Obamacare: most of the neo-cons are not really his friends - govern from the center-right instead, so as to strive to be a great transformational leader whom America desperately needs today! For more, read: Donald Trump vs. Deng Xiaoping.

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